What is Dushahra?
Below is this informative article written by Manu Jain, to find out about this glorious festival.
It is an occasion for the festivities on a grand scale, which emanates an authentic feeling throughout India's vivid cultures, customs and religions. In north India, the festival wears the colorful garb of Ram Lila, where gleaming processions depicting several facets of Rama's life are carried out.
In Punjab, West Bengal and many other states, the first nine days of the festival called as Navaratri is taken as a period of fasting. In Gujarat, the evenings and nights are brightened by Garba dances, where women dance around an earthen lamp singing devotional songs. On the tenth day, which is Vijayadashmi, monstrous effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarana and Meghnatha, which are stuffed with explosive material, are burnt, resulting in a thunderous blast, braced by the shouts of merriment and triumph from the spectators, thus providing the finale of the most spectacular re-telling of the Ramayana. It is known that Lord Rama invoked the blessings of Goddess Durga before going out to battle. West Bengal devotes the tenth day to the worship of Goddess Durga.
Shakti, the cosmic energy which enlivens all beings, honoring her warrior powers that destroyed the demon Mahishasur.
Beautiful idols of the Mother Goddess are worshipped for nine days, and then are carried out in procession for immersion in water.
In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the first three days are dedicated to the worship of Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth and prosperity), the next three to Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge and arts) and the last three to Shakti (Durga). Families arrange dolls (Bommai Kolu), and prepare an elaborate spread of lamps and flowers on the first day of Navratri- Women exchange gifts, coconuts, clothes and sweets. After the Saraswati Pooja on the ninth day, the whole set up is taken down on Vijayadashami ? an auspicious occasion for everyone to commence their education in classical dance and music, and to pay homage to their teachers.
Mysore displays resplendent regalia, where caparisoned elephants lead colorful processions through the jovial streets to the mount of the Goddess Chamunda (The protector deity of Karnataka)
When Dushahra celebrations come to an end in the rest of the country, they begin at Kullu (in Himachal Pradesh).
The Dushahra Celebration gives us a message, a message that prompts us to get rid of the evils within us, and empower (recognize) the honest us.